Port Douglas

Jul 28th, 2002, 10:42 AM
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Port Douglas

We are planning a two week trip to Australia in Sept. We're going to either:
1) Sydney / Port Douglas
2) Sydney / Ayer's Rock /Port Douglas
We're going to stay one week in Sydney.

Is one week in Port Douglas too long? The package we are looking at includes the 3 star Rydges Reef Resort? Does anyone know anything about this hotel?

Trying to decide whether we should make the trip to Ayer's Rock...it adds a lot to the cost of the trip and I have read mixed reviews on making the stop there. A travel agent suggested making a road trip from Port Douglas to Cape Tribulation instead.

Any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated.

Jul 28th, 2002, 07:36 PM
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Personally I don't think one week in Port Douglas is too long, you can visit the Daintree, Cairns, Palm Cove, Kuranda, then there's the beach at PD, the weekend market, a Great Barrier Reef day trip, Cape Trib etc. Maybe even relax!!
We saw Rydges on the main road when we were in PD. I would prefer to stay somewhere closer to town, it's roughly a 15-20 min walk into town. There are local buses. If you have a look at www.jasons.com.au these hotels are all really central:
PD Queenslander, Outrigger, Hibiscus Gardens, The Whitehouse, and lots of others. They are 5 min walk to town, the beach and the marina where the boat trips leave from.
Ayers Rock is certainly a long way from the far north. If you have a few days to spare, it's very different from the PD area, it's desert country, whereas PD is green and tropical.
You could do a day tour up to Cape Trib from PD or do as we did, and hire a car. We took a picnic and had a great day. You cross the Daintree River on a cable ferry (no bridge) and just watch for crocodiles, there are lots of warning signs.
Jul 29th, 2002, 08:23 AM
bill simpson
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My wife & I spent 8 days in Port Douglas (PD) in April & it was absolutely great. Could have easily added a few days & it wouldn't have hurt my feelings but you got to go home sometime. We stayed at the Rydges Reef & it was O.K. but if we went again we would probably pick another place although the price was right & it was clean. We had a rental vehicle so the distance from town wasn't a factor. I would highly recommend renting a vehicle since you can drive yourself to Cape Trib, Daintree, & Mossman Gorge. Don't take a tour to Mossman Gorge - it's overrated so if you do want to see it, drive yourself. The roads are winding but good & it's a snap to get around. Most all tours will pickup at the various hotels in the area if you don't desire to drive. Of course you have many Great Barrier Reef trips you can take out of PD which are a must do. If you want to get in the water take one of the smaller boats out but if you don't want to get in the water I recommend taking the large Quicksilver boat to the outer reef. I can't remember the name but it carries about 300 hundred people. It is very well organized for such a large gathering, the food was great, & they had a submersible & even a helicopter pad so you didn't have to get in the water to enjoy the day. You can drive to Freshwater Station (again easy) & take the Kuranda Train to Kuranda & return via the Skyrail & is a trip I recommend. There is a shuttle service between the Skyrail terminus & Freshwater Station to get you back to your vehicle. The Kuranda Market is well advertised but to me wasn't that great, however the Sunday PD Market was very enjoyable. PD has the small village feel but it & the surrounding area doesn't lack for things to do. Just wandering down the main drag in the evening looking at the posted menus was very enjoyable. Lots of good places to dine such as Mangoes, Iron Bar, & highly recommended is Going Banana's on Davidson Street a little off the main drag. Unlike the States you can afford a bottle of wine (or 2) with every meal - it's the only way to go. They don't mark it up so you get great wine at great prices. Port Douglas was our last stop on a 7 week trip & was one of our favorite places. You will love Australia.
Jul 29th, 2002, 08:29 AM
bill simpson
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I forgot to mention for a two week trip, forget Ayers Rock. It's worth a visit but do it in conjunction with a trip to Adelaide or Perth. You will find plenty to do in Sydney - we spent 6 days there & it wasn't enough - & Port Douglas.
Jul 29th, 2002, 09:46 AM
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I think one week in Port Douglass is too long in the property you are in. Not only is it too far from town but also a good walk to the beach. I don't like eating at hotels but you will probably have to do so quite a bit unless you get a car or take the bus often. The Rydges Reef resort does look and feel nicer than a 3 star rating though. Anyway can you substitute staying on an Island in the Great Barrier Reef for Ayers Rock since PD is so close? Dunk or Hamilton Islands would be nice. Green Island off Cairns is more of a day trip Island but worth considering if you end up in PD for a week. I skipped Ayers rock and don't feel as if I missed out.
Aug 14th, 2002, 06:46 PM
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I just got back from a trip to Australia and New Zealand and while we were in Port Douglas we stayed at the Peninsula Hotel, a small boutique hotel across the street from the beach. It was nice, but a bit expensive. We had no car. The hotel was a 2 minute walk to town, so very convenient and they were very nice and attentive to us, great service. We took a 4WD day trip to Daintree and Cape Trib and it was great. An Aussie couple on the tour were staying at the Hibiscus and they said it was really nice! I had looked at it before selecting our hotel and almost booked us there. The price is right, so you might consider it. And it's a 5 minute walk at the most to town. The Rydges didn't look so hot to me. When we went on tours they all pick you up at your hotels so you get to see the other hotels as you ride along, depending on the order in which they get you.

We took a day trip to Kuranda, skipped the show, but rode the gondola/sky cab up and trained down. Super!!! We also took a day trip on Quicksilver to the GBR. We did the big trip because the weather was lousy -- cloudy, cool and rainy, and we wanted the option to be able to cancel if we could and Quicksilver lets you do that, the smaller companies won't. Plus, the sea was rough and the bigger boat helped with seasickness. They run a first class operation, I was not unhappy with it at all and I had been worried about it being bad with so many people. The food is good, the snorkeling was terrific even while it was raining on my back as I was swimming around, the water was nice, and I never felt like I was in a crowd.

Cape Trib is just a big beach, but the Daintree River cruise was fun and our guide taught us alot about the rainforest and the history of the area.

If you want any other info, feel free to email me directly.
Aug 15th, 2002, 10:35 PM
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Thank you all very much for your replies and for taking the time to write them. Your input is great! They are all very helpful and I am reading them just in time because I am on the verge of finalizing the arrangements for the trip. We are planning to stay in Sydney 7 nights, Port Douglas 4 nights, and Ayer's Rock two nights. I will look at staying at the Hibiscus...rather than staying at Rydges Reef. I also will consider renting a car...or possibly taking one of those 4wheel drive tours to Daintree/ Cape Tribulation. Thanks again!
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